Low Carb Foods Diet Facts – Sorting Through the Confusion!

The low carb foods diet can be really confusing, especially when you read conflicting advice about it. The various diet plans differ in the way they count carbs, which can make your head spin like a top!

Its really not that difficult once you understand the basics though. You should however, know which foods you should and should not consume if you plan to stay on the diet for any amount of time.

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Just like any diet, you will be restricting certain calories that come from certain foods. You can't dive into a low carb foods diet without understanding what carbohydrates are and how your body uses them. Its important to educate yourself before venturing on any diet that may well last a very long time, if it works well for you.

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are your body's primary source of fuel. The energy that you get from them can be released quickly and easily to fulfill immediate requirements within your cells. Carbohydrates do not require oxygen to burn, therefore they fuel most muscular contractions. They are particularly important for regular exercise.

All carbohydrates are made up from sugars or converted to sugar in your body. There are a number of different types of sugars but all carbohydrate metabolism converts sugar to glucose, which is your body's preferred source of energy. Glucose is the main sugar present in many foods but some contain different sugars, such as fructose in fruit, lactose in milk, galactose as well as others. Most sugars are digested and absorbed and converted to glucose. Sugar that cannot be digested is better known as fiber.

Complex carbohydrates or starch are simply sugars bonded together to form a chain. Digestive enzymes have to work much harder to break the chain into individual sugars for absorption through the intestines. For this reason digestion of complex carbohydrates takes longer. Their slow absorption of sugars provides you with a steady supply of energy and limits the amount of sugar converted into fat and stored!

Simple carbohydrates are smaller molecules of sugar unlike the long chains found in starch. They are digested quickly because the individual sugars are ready to be absorbed immediately plus digestive enzymes have easy access to the bonds in the paired molecules.

Their rapid absorption increases the chances of sugar converting to fat but only if there is an abundance of energy absorbed. High fat foods like cake, pastry, biscuits, chocolate and too much table sugar (which we all love!), contain lots of empty calories. Because your cells usually do not require excessive amounts of energy all the time, the sugar must either be converted to glycogen (sugar storage within cells) or converted to fat.

Fruits contain natural simple sugars, however because the amount of energy is low there's less chance for sugar to be converted to fat. Plus many fruits are high in fiber which helps slow digestion again limiting the flood of sugar energy into cells when its not needed!

Low Carb Foods Diet Specifics

There are many low carb foods diet plans to choose from. The most popular are the Atkins, Nutri System, South Beach, and The Zone diets. Some low carb diets follow a rigid set of approved foods, while others are a bit more relaxed and only advise limiting the amount of foods that are high in carbohydrates.

Any diet whose primary focus is the reduction of carbohydrates in any way is what is meant by a low carb foods diet. In terms of percentages, the typical mainstream recommendation is a diet with 50 percent - 65 percent calories from carbohydrates, however any diet with a 40 percent or less, reduction of carbs, can also be considered a low carb foods diet. It all depends on how the diet you choose measures carbs.

The best foods to include are those foods in a natural state, which is similar but not equal to a raw foods diet. Because you will be restricting your consumption of whole grain products, (which are high in fiber and vitamins), you’ll need to find the nutrients in either other foods or by taking supplements. Natural foods, especially raw foods like fruits and veggies, or lightly steamed veggies, have significant amounts of minerals, antioxidants, and plant nutrients that your body requires to keep healthy.

If you are considering a low carb foods diet, you’ll need to get used to reading labels. Most labels tell a story and give you the amount of carbs per serving and of course, various other information you’ll need to make informed decisions about the foods you buy. For example, I allowed my son to have a small package of 6 mini donuts the other day. I looked at the label and the amount of carbs listed was 45 grams. That’s a lot of carbs for six little donuts! Outrageous!

The No White Foods diet is also a good way to measure carbs. In the diet, you do not consume any white foods, (sugars, flour, etc.), so your diet is basically devoid of carbs altogether. This effectively cuts back on the carbohydrates in your diet, especially high glycemic foods. Just realize that there are also some white foods, such as tofu, cauliflower, and onions that are low in carbs and good for you!

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Categorizing Carbs

Categorizing simple and complex carbohydrates is always helpful if you’re considering a low carb foods diet. Only rarely will you be consuming simple carbohydrates. The small amounts of carbs which you are allowed to consume should be complex carbohydrates.

The most prominent foods to consume on your low carb foods diet will be high protein foods like meat, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, various cheeses, seeds, and nuts. Also included are fats like butter, olive and other oils. Most nutritionists agree that monosaturated oils like olive oil, have the most benefits. You will have to restrict some of the protein and fats you consume however. Overdoing either of them can instead lead to weight gain and other health problems.

  • Simple Carbs

    Simple carbs like fruits, should be consumed in very small amounts, if only for the nutrients they provide. Other simple carbs are milk sugar, or lactose (found in some dairy products), and sucrose, or table sugar.

    This will restrict the kinds of frozen, canned, and boxed foods you should consume. Fruit and milk can be included in your low carb foods diet. Anything with table sugar should be avoided as much as possible.

    Items from a local bakery, although they may be freshly baked and contain no preservatives, will have sugar, and more than likely, processed white flour.

    Unfortunately, they are a big NO NO on you low carb foods diet. While no bread is considered a low carb food, you should make room for whole grain breads. Whole grains give you the fiber you need to keep you satisfied and keep your blood sugar levels steady.

  • Complex Carbs

    The best way to provide the diet with complex carbohydrates is to consume foods in an unrefined natural state such as oatmeal, bran, and brown rice. White foods, such as rice, pasta, and breads, are also considered complex carbs but have been refined, so most of the nutritious content has been eliminated.

    High Carbohydrate Foods List

    Its important to know about high carbohydrate foods when you jump into in a low carb foods diet. Sometimes mapping out what you can't have is useful in realizing what you can have! The devil is always in the details, as it is with any diet plan!

  • High carbohydrate foods includes mainly cereals, grains and bread such as bagel, white bread, whole wheat bread, white rice, barley, oatmeal, spaghetti, pasta, muffins, etc. Some fruits such as apricot, dates, blueberry, banana, fig, grapes, apple, orange, pear, pineapple, strawberry, watermelon and raisins contain the highest amounts of carbohydrates.

  • Some beans contain a higher percentage of complex carbohydrates and more nutrients, such as chickpeas, white beans, black eye peas, refried beans, garbanzo beans and navy beans. Some root vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, carrot and corn contain a higher quantity of carbohydrates.

  • Dairy products are known for their rich fat and high protein content. However, some of the dairy products such as nonfat milk, low fat milk, plain yogurt, chocolate milk and skimmed milk are high carbohydrate foods. All types of chocolates, candies, cookies, pastries contain the highest amounts of carbohydrates.

  • Foods containing simple carbohydrates include table sugar, candy, cake, corn syrup, fruit juice, bread and pasta made from white flour and most packaged cereals.

  • Foods containing the highest amounts of complex carbohydrates are bran, oatmeal, maize, barley, buckwheat, cornmeal, pasta, macaroni, spaghetti, potato, brown rice, shredded wheat, bagel, wholegrain cereals, corn, peas, muesli, yam, beans and lentils.

    High carbohydrate foods provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber, that are essential for most physical activities and your overall health. Use them sparingly and wisely on your low carb foods diet plan.

    Low Carb Foods Diet List

    In order to covert you body system to burn fat, you will need a low carb foods diet list. You can use this as a guide for the Atkins diet. All of these foods contain 10 percent carbohydrates or less.

    Meats (general)

    Beef (all kinds), Pork (all kinds), Poultry (all kinds), Wild game (all kinds), Fish (all kinds), Shellfish (all except imitation crab meat), Deli Meat (watch labels - nitrate free is preferable)

    Meats (specific)

    Bacon, Beef, Calf Liver, Chicken, Cornish Game Hen, Duck, Goose, Ham, Kielbasa, Lamb, Pork, Quail, Sausage, Steak, Turkey, Veal, Steak.


    Anchovies in Oil, Bluefish, Catfish, Cod, Flounder, Halibut, Herring, Mackerel, Mahi-mahi, Salmon, Sardine, Scrod, Snapper, Trout, Tuna.


    Clams, Crab, Lobster, Mussel, Oysters, Scallops, Shrimp, Squid.


    Heavy Whipping Cream, Half & Half, Sour Cream, Cottage Cheese, All hard and soft cheeses, Eggs, real butter, cream cheese.


    Asparagus, Avocado, Bamboo Shoots, Bean Sprouts, Beet Greens, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery Root, Chard, Collard Creens, Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Hearts of Palm, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Okra, Onion, Pumpkin, Rhubarb, Sauerkraut, Scallions, Snow Pea Pods, Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, String or Wax Beans, Summer Squash, Tomato, Turnips, Water Chestnuts, Zucchini.

    Salad Veggies

    Alfalfa Sprouts, Arugula, Bok Choy, Boston Lettuce, Celery, Chicory, Chives, Cucumber, Endive, Escarol, Fennel , Jicama, Mache, Morels, Mushrooms, Olives, Parsley, Peppers, Posse Pied, Radiccio, Radishes, Romaine, Sorrel.


    Pumpkin, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Cantaloupe, Lemons, Limes.

    Other Foods

    Some (not all) of these items might cause relapses, so use wisely! Mixes are always better than pre-made, and remember to read the details in what you're buying.

    Sugar Free Jell-O, Sugar Free Pudding Mix, Diet Hot Cocoa, Coffee, Tea, Water, Diet Soda, Crystal Light Mix, Kellogg K2o Protein Water Mixed, Sugar Free Kool-Aide, Low-Carb Breads, Low-Carb tortillas, Sugar Free Chocolates, Flaxseed, Nuts, Nut flours, Pork Rinds, Low Carb shakes and bars, Wheat Gluten, Guar or Xanthium Gum, Coconut oil, Olive oil, Stevia, Protein powders, Splenda, Fiber Fit, True Lemon/Lime/Orange, Sugar Free syrup.

    Low Carb Foods Diet Benefits

    Results of a low carb foods diet are varied from individual to individual. You must therefore make your own assessments after staying on the diet for at least several weeks, if not longer.
  • Weight loss
  • Increased energy
  • Less frequent cravings (for sweets especially)
  • Mental clarity, less brain fog
  • Improved mood; emotions calmed
  • Less Compulsive or emotional eating
  • Improved dental hygiene (less dental plaque and/or improved gum health) These benefits are sometimes reported in a low carb foods diet plan. Some of them happen because of weight loss in general.
  • Less frequent joint or muscle pain
  • Reduced headaches
  • Improvements in PMS
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as heartburn, improved
  • Improved skin appearance

    To get the low carb foods diet right, you will need to carefully monitor what you eat for a while. Keeping up with what you can and can't have is made easier by investing the time to know what you're consuming. Stick with high protein meats, lots of low carb veggies with a sprinkle of whole grains and you'll succeed!

    As a final not on the low carb foods diet, it is good to note that beer is a big no-no on this diet, even if its a low carb brew. Red wine however, is allowed in small amounts.

    There's no doubt that a low carb foods diet can help you get rid of the extra poundage! The fewer BAD carbs you eat, the faster the weight will jump off board!

    Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.

    Related Pages on This Site

    Low Calorie Diet Plans Versus Low Fat Diet Plans

    Can a Gluten Free Diet Plan help You Lose Weight?

    Increasing Fat Intake to Thin Down

    Lose Stubborn Belly Fat – Best Ways to Eliminate a Pot Belly

    Eating a Balanced Diet Decreases Weight and Increases Energy

    Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan – An Ideal Way to Lose the Fat

    Eat Fiber Rich Foods to Lose Weight

    Acai Berry Fruit – Lose Weight and Be Healthy

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